Fr. Jonathan Loop gives advice from Scripture and the writings of learned churchmen on how best to more fully understand and deepen our Faith.
During Tenebrae of Holy Week, the Church commands her priests to recite the Lamentations of Jeremias, which he composed to express his grief over the desolation of Jerusalem at the beginning of the Babylonian captivity.
When they returned to the holy city 70 years later, Esdras the priest oversaw the reconstruction of the city. He also sought to encourage a return of the people to the Law of Moses. There is an impressive passage in the book of Nehemias where the priests read the Law (almost certainly the first 5 books of the Bible) to all the people gathered in Jerusalem from the daybreak until noon. For all six hours, the people – men, women, and children old enough to understand – stood silently to hear what God asked of them.
If we are to have a true love of God and an intelligent and active religious life, we must first know who God is and what He expects of us. This, in turn, requires that we have an ardent zeal to know Him and to receive His words. King David admirably expressed this thought throughout Psalm 118 (one beloved by Archbishop Lefebvre), as manifested by such beautiful phrases:
Give me understanding and I will investigate Thy law, and I shall keep it with my whole heart.
I am Thy servant; give me understanding that I may understand Thy words.”
For Christian souls, there are two principal means of nourishing our understanding of God and His law: spiritual reading (which here would include Scripture & the Catechism) and religious instruction, especially in the form of sermons. In light of this, Cardinal Antoniano remarks:
Fathers of families ought to follow intently sermons and to cause their children to hear them as often as possible. The voice of the priest, who in the pulpit holds the place of God, has a great force to inflame in [both parents and children] holy desires and to encourage them to flee sin. . . Touched by these considerations, truly pious parents will employ [all means available to them] to cause their children to develop the happy habit of willing listening to the word of God.
How much do we take this to heart? How thirsty are we both to cultivate our grasp of the truths of the Faith and to impart to our children not only a basic grasp of the fundamental truths of our religion, but a love of the word of God and an eagerness to receive it? Ought we not have as our goal to inspire in them the same attitude that the young prophet Samuel expressed the first time God addressed him: “Speak Lord, Thy servant heareth”?
In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,
Fr. Jonathan Loop